Things that go Boom: Expanding the Demolitions Skill

JCab747's picture
JCab747
April 8, 2019 - 5:43pm
In conducting my research on landmines, I started looking into demolitions as well and found a lot of useful information on this topic.

So, instead of trying to write a combined story on explosives -- such as kaboomite -- and mines, I'm planning to create them as separate stories.

Here now, is a look at expanding the demolition skill and adding some other explosives.
Joe Cabadas
Comments:

JCab747's picture
JCab747
May 8, 2019 - 7:09pm

Fuses and Detonators

A detonator – or blasting cap – is needed to bring about the complete detonation of blasting explosives. They are an explosive themselves, doing 1d10 points of damage if used alone. Blasting caps should be stored separately from explosives and are not inserted into the main explosive charge until it is time to use them. Most detonators are chemically, mechanically, or electronically initiated.[1]

Variable Timer/Detonator. One of the most common detonators is the variable timer. It can be set for 1 to 60 seconds, 1 to 60 minutes or 1 to 60 hours.  Water Resistance: Good. Fume Class: Good. Shelf Life: 5 years.

Acid Detonator Cap. Acid detonator caps are normally used to detonate plastid; however, they can be fitted into detonation devices in place of normal blasting caps. Water Resistance: Good. Fume Class: Fair. Shelf Life: 1-2 years.

Chemical Detonator. Chemical detonators are used when the Demolition specialist wishes the explosion to coincide with an influx of unusual quantities of liquids or gas. For instance, a chemical detonator can be set to explode if it gets wet, if too much oxygen gets into the air or a room, etc. Water Resistance: Good. Fume Class: Fair. Shelf Life: 5 years.

Counter Detonator Attachment. This tiny counter is inserted between the explosive and its detonator. It is preset to cause detonation once it is triggered a set number of times.

For example, a counter attachment is set between 50 grams of TD-19 and its pressure-sensitive whip wire detonator. The bomb is placed behind a door in such a fashion that each time the door opens, the whip wire is triggered.

The counter is set at 10. The first nine times the door opens, the whip wire is triggered and the counter records it. The tenth time the door opens, the bomb explodes. Water Resistance: Good. Fume Class: N/A. Shelf Life: 5 years.

Light Detonator. Light detonators are larger than other types, about the size of a small human fist. These detonators are sensitive to light intensity and they can be set to detonate an explosive when a light is turned on in a room, when sunrise or dusk occurs, when a flash grenade explodes, when it detect ultraviolet light at a specific wavelength, etc. Water Resistance: Good. Fume Class: Good. Shelf Life: 5 years.

Pressure Detonator. Pressure detonators contain either a small plate, a button, or a whipwire (or trip wire) that is set to key an explosion when a certain pressure is either exerted or released.

For example, a pressure detonator whip wire affixed next to a door will detonate its charge when the door is opened, pressure detonators placed under a dead Sathar body will explode when the body is moved, etc. Water Resistance: Good. Fume Class: Good.S helf Life: 5 years.

Radio Beam Detonator (Basic). Instead of using Det Cord, a radio beam detonator can link up to a total of 10 charges within a 100 meter radius of the primary charge. It can receive a radio beam from a signaling device, which comes with the detonator when purchased. The charges can be fired off all at once or sequentially. Water Resistance: Good. Fume Class: Good. Shelf Life: 10 years.

Radio Beam Detonator (Mid-Range). Similar to the basic model, the mid-range radio beam detonator can link up to 20 charges within a 500 meter radius. It is sensitive enough to detect the detonation signal from up to 5 kilometers away. Water Resistance: Good. Fume Class: Good. Shelf Life: 15 years.

Radio Beam Detonator (Advanced). The advanced model can link up to 20 charges within a 500 meter radius. On a planet, it can accept a signal from a radiophone, 500 kilometers away. Or, in space, it can receive a signal from a spaceship communication system from 100,000 kilometers away. Water Resistance: Good. Fume Class: Good. Shelf Life: 20 years.

Radio Beam Signaling Devices. The basic signaling device for a radio beam detonator only has a 100-meter range. Another option is a chronocom-based signaling device has a 5 kilometer range. The advanced signaling device has a 500 kilometer range.

Note, radio beams can be jammed, preventing the proper signal from going to a detonator.

Void Detonator. Triggered by the transition from normal space into the Void (or vice versa), this is the type of detonator that is often used by Sathar agents, pirates or terrorists. It can be combined with the counter attachment to initiate an explosion after a set number of transitions into or out of the Void.

The first known use of a void detonator occurred in 9 FY when the PGS Henry Bacon, a Pan Galactic Corporation freighter, suffered an explosion in its lower cargo hold as it was exiting the Void at Dixon’s Star. The blast nearly broke the ship in two and left the Bacon drifting through the system at just below jump speed. Fortunately a Spacefleetf rigate UPFS Kristna was transitioning through the system on its way to Truane’s Star and happened to be nearby.

The rescue of the Bacon’s crew took nearly four weeks of harrowing acceleration and course adjustments by the Kristna. Duringi ts time the Bacon was adrift, the crew did manage to recover evidence in the wreckage that Star Law later identified as a void detonator.

Although highly illegal to possess in theFrontier, pirates and domestic terrorist organizations soon learned to make their own versions of the Sathar device. They might combine them with a Variable Timer/Detonator, setting it to trigger a bomb after a certain number of hours following a ship’s exit from the Void. Water Resistance: Good. Fume Class: Good. Shelf Life: 20 years.

Antiquated Fuses and Detonators

Miners Safety Fuse. Invented in 1831 by Alfred Nobel’s company, this fuse consists of a rope that includes a strand of yarn infused with black powder. The detonator is a metal shell containing a wooden plug of black powder placed in a charge of liquid nitroglycerin. These may have a fuse time of two minutes or more, depending upon the length of rope.

Assume it has a 15 percent failure rate; so even if the Demolition specialist makes a successful roll to set a charge, the referee will need to determine if the fuse and detonator actually go off as planned. The charge may go off prematurely, very late or not at all. Water Resistence: Poor. Fume Class: Poor. Shelf Life: 2-6 months.

Mercury Blasting Cap. Invented by Nobel, the mercury blasting cap is highly sensitive to friction and heat. Relatively inexpensive, it is still used in the mining industry in developing countries. Assume it has a failure rate of 2 percent, which the referee would need to make a check separately. Water Resistence: Good. Fume Class: Poor. Shelf Life: 6 months -1 year.

Early Blasting Machines.  This is the “plunger-style” detonator often seen in the Looney Tunes cartoons or on the TV show Hogan’s Heroes. It is basically a wooden box containing a high voltage magneto. Pushing down on the plunger spins the magneto, which generates the electricity needed to set off the blasting cap that in turn initiates the detonation of an explosive. The blasting machine needs to be connected to the explosive by a length of wire. Water Resistence: Fair. Fume Class: N/A. Shelf Life: indefinite.

Switch and Push-Button Blasting Machines. Modern blasting machines are battery-powered. The Demolition specialist uses a push button or a key-style switch to activate it. The blasting machine must be connected by wires to the explosive. It would have the equivalent of a 20 SEU battery pack and uses 1 SEU per use. Water Resistance: Good. Fume Class: N/A. Shelf Life: Indefinite.

Slow Match Fuse. Using hemp or cotton rope that has been saturated with an oxidizer, the slow match fuse presents only a small glowing tip. It is suitable for black powder weapons because it can be roughly handled without being extinguished. Water Resistance: Poor. Fume Class: Fair. Shelf Life: 1 year.

Black Match Fuse. This fuse has a cotton string that is coated with a dried slurry of black powder and a glue. It was used to fire ancient cannons. Water Resistance: Poor. Fume Class: Poor. Shelf Life: 6months.

Quick Match Fuse. A type of black powder fuse, the quick match burns at hundreds of meters per second. Professional fireworks displays use this type of fuse to set off widely separated devices almost instantaneously. Water Resistance: Good. Fume Class: Fair. Shelf Life: 6 months to 1 year.

Safety Fuse. Waterproofed, the safety fuse has an inner core of black powder and can burn underwater. With an outer wrapping oft extile or plastic, it will not hae an exposed external flame that could ignite methane or other gases that could be found in mines or industrial areas. Each 30 centemiter section will burn for 60 seconds. Water Resistance: Good. Fume Class: Fair. Shelf Life: 6 months to 1 year.

 

Explosives and Equipment

Cost (Cr)

Wgt (kg)

Tornadium D-19

50

1

Tornadium D-20

100

1

Plastid

500

1

Powder Horn, basic

2*

1

Powder Horn, ornate

20*

1

Powder Keg, 5 pounds

10

5**

Powder Keg, 50 pounds

20

32**

Powder Keg, 100 pounds

40

65**

Nitrogylcerin (gallon)

 

 

Guncotton

50

10

Dynamite, per stick

4

0.2

Dynamite, box of 12

40

1.5***

TNT, per stick

5

0.2

TNT, box of 12

50

1.5***

Amonium Nitrate/Fuel Oil, sack

50

10

C4/Semtex

40

1

Detonating Cord, 10-meters

10

0.5

Det Cord, 20-meters

15

1

Det Cord, 50-meters

30

2.5

Fireline, 25-meters

60

6

Firelilne, 50-meters

120

12

Fireline, 100-meters

240

24

*The price assumes this is a Frontier reproduction. Antique powder horns/flasks may be much more expensive. The price does not include black powder.

**The weight given includes a full load of black powder plus the weight of the storage barrel.

***Includes the weight of the storage container.

 

Fuses and Detonators

Cost (Cr)

Wgt (kg)

Variable Timer/Detonator

5

--

Acid Detonator Cap

10

--

Chemical Detonator

15

--

Counter Detonator Attachment

10

--

Light Detonator

15

--

Pressure Detonator

10

--

Radio Beam Detonator (Basic)

10

--

Radio Beam Detonator (Mid-Range).

20

--

Radio Beam Detonator (Advanced).

30

--

Radio Beam Basic Signaler

10

--

Chronocom Beam Signaler

20

--

Radiophone Beam Signaler

50

1

Void Detonator

500*

0.5

Miners Safety Fuse, set of 20

10

2

Mercury Blasting Cap, set of 20

5

--

Old-Fashioned Blasting Machines

50**

5

Switch and Push-Button Blasting Machines

40

1

Slow Match Fuse, set of 50

10

0.5

Black Match Fuse, set of 50

10

0.5

Quick Match Fuse, set of 10

50

2

Safety Fuse, set of 20

20

0.5

*This is the approximate black market price for a Void Detonator. The actual cost to make one is about 100 Credits.

**This is the price of a reproduction. An actual antique blasting machine would be considerabley higher.

 

 

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
May 8, 2019 - 7:14pm
OK. I've finished and submitted a first draft of a story to expand the Demolitions skill.

The actual statistics for dynamite, TNT, etc. plus detonators will be in a separte story.

I have a bit of handwavum going on here to try to simulate larger explosions with the Damage Progression Table for TD-19.

I'm not sure if my assumptions work -- it may be too clunky -- so I am appealing for anyone who knows about demolitions and the game rules to provide some feedback! Or, anyone who wants to provide a critique, either openly or as a private message.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
May 9, 2019 - 1:12pm
Revisions to come:

Upon some contemplation, I think the "Damage Progression Table" is an inelegant design... i.e. it's garbage.

I'll do some more research on how the demolition industry calculates danger areas when using explosives.

First find is this one: 

Explosion Danger Area Calculator

This calculator can be used to estimate range danger areas when planning the destruction of ammunition by open detonation.  It may be used for 'quick planning' on demolition ranges with existing danger areas. If used on demolition areas with no formal danger areas the user should remember that the distance produced by these equations is that distance outside which no more than one fragment would be expected to fly. They are NOT absolutely safe.

The equations for this calculation are as follows:

 

For fragmenting munitions when public access is possible to the demolition range area:
         Distance = 634(AUW)1/6

For fragmenting munitions when public access is denied to the demolition range area:
         Distance = 444(AUW)1/6

For bare exposed explosive only:
         Distance = 130(AUW)1/3

IATG 01.80 - Formulae for Ammunition Management - Clause 9.1





Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
May 10, 2019 - 8:40pm
More info on RPGs (role playing games, not rocket propelled grenades) and calculating blast areas.






Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
May 10, 2019 - 8:43pm
The chart above was posted by: Posted by
Ragnarok
9 months ago

The graphic doesn't necessarily help with calculating the blast radius for ever increasing amounts of explosives, but is along the lines of what I am thinking.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
May 10, 2019 - 9:01pm


Posted by: John Freiler, Cold Warrior and technically savvy

As stated, the energy is double, but blast radius is a function of volume: The blast gets everything within that radius: so a sphere or hemisphere. 

Twice the energy means twice the volume, but volume goes up with the cube of radius, so a doubling of volume will only increase the radius by the cube root of two: 1.26 approximately. 

So if the initial bomb has a blast radius of 10m, two identical bombs side by side set of simultaneously would have a blast radius of 12.6m

If you want to get double the blast radius, you have to use 8 times at much explosive.

There’s all manner of real world complications and considerations in such an exercise, but that’s the basics theory.


Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
May 14, 2019 - 5:05pm
This chart should be useful.




I think I will look at the blast radii of real life explosions, in TNT equivalents, and then create a "universal blast radius chart". So, let's say 1 kg of Tornadium D-19 is twice or three or four times as powerful as TNT, then it would be figured that way.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
May 14, 2019 - 5:10pm
Another real life chart from the BATF (U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms... I think they add Explosives in there too, but it's not part of the acronym).


Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
May 18, 2019 - 5:00am
I came up with my own graphic to represent different blast damage rings (radii) for larger explosions.

I used a variation of the the Zeb's Guide formula. 

I figure if the primary blast radius is, say, 2 squares (or 4 across).

The secondary blast radius where a character takes 50% damage is supposed to be 1.5 times that or 3 squares.

The third blast ring is 2 times the primary blast radius where a character takes 25% damage.

And the 4th damage ring is 4 times the primary blast radius, where a character takes 10% damage.



Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
May 18, 2019 - 7:25am
And here's a chart that just concentrates on the primary and secondary blast circles.


Joe Cabadas